MIT recently released information about a process that could enable quantum computers to be created on a larger scale than ever before. MIT researchers have used lasers to carve qubits into diamonds, enabling information to be stored at nanometer tolerances.
The substance of choice, diamonds are first shot with a high-intensity laser to move some of the very orderly carbon atoms around and then heated until the excited carbon atoms form tiny imperfections in the surface of the diamonds.
Once the imperfections have been created, they must have elements added in order to generate the wavelengths of light needed in a process commonly known as “doping”. Traditionally, nitrogen was the preferred agent for this process. But silicon has shown much narrower bandwidths of light. The cost of this increased accuracy is a requirement of lower temperatures.
While nitrogen-doped diamonds can tolerate temperatures a couple of degrees above absolute zero, silicon-doped diamonds require temperatures only a fraction of a degree above absolute zero.
How does this process work?
This process of producing diamonds to store qubits uses high-energy lasers to move carbon atoms in the nearly perfect configuration within a diamond and immense heat energy to excite other atoms until they bond with silicon atoms and arrange themselves into the appropriate position to store qubits in the mesh-like structure of carbon atoms.
How can this process make quantum computing easier to produce?
Using silicon-doped diamonds makes it easier to mass produce quantum computers by narrowing the bandwidths of light emitted by qubits. While the temperature tolerance shrinks significantly, the output efficiency of qubits and their reliability increases sharply. By increasing the wavelength precision, researchers are enabling quantum computers to be produced with higher accuracy in storing information on qubits.
How significant are these doped diamonds?
According to Dirk Englund Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, these quantum computer components are nearly where quantum researchers need to be in order to reach the best case scenario for quantum computing, which he describes as follows: “The dream scenario in quantum information processing is to make an optical circuit to shuttle photonic qubits and then position a quantum memory wherever you need it.”
MIT researchers in conjunction with Harvard and other schools have nearly reached the ideal situation for producing quantum computers on a massive level. This most recent breakthrough enables researchers to produce atomic imperfections within diamonds practically wherever they need to do so.
By obtaining that capability, researchers can likely create highly accurate and reliable quantum computers. While using silicon requires a much tighter temperature tolerance in order to work, it also yields higher levels of accuracy in implanting silicon molecules into the carbon structures.
Researchers are nearing a point which can allow quantum computing to occur on an industrial level with higher levels of consistency and accuracy than are currently possible. They hope to reach a point that they can precisely target specific regions in diamonds for creating imperfections that they can dope in order to produce photonic qubits that exist within a specific light wavelength band.